Friday, February 5, 2010


If you go on more than one cruise with Royal Caribbean you are at Gold level status (I am of course Platinum and my parents are Diamond), which means that Stella is now a Gold member of Royal Caribbean's Frequent Cruisers Club. Anyone who was anyone could tell that Stella was one experienced cruiser. She had the whole thing down. The most luxurious thing about a cruise is getting to eat something you didn't have to make, and late at night (well, late to a one year old). I would say to Stella: "Hey, let's go and get a cookie." "Cookie!" she would yell, and then she would run to the door, knowing exactly where to get the cookies. We had such a fun Mommy and daughter bonding time on this cruise since everyone went but Brent, but despite missing him, I would have to say that we had a perfect vacation.

The sail away is always the BEST part of your cruise. Sailing out of Miami is especially lovely since we got to sail past South Beach and Star Island (where Diddy, and other people not as important as Diddy but still famous, have homes).

Each night was pretty low key. Stella wouldn't go down to sleep until I did. On the last cruise, I would really try to get her to fall asleep before me, and it always took forever. So this time I just let her stay up with me, and I think it helped that she was a little older too. So every night we would hang out, grab some cookies, and then Aunt Ashley would come over for a sleepover. Stella loved to snuggle with her Auntie and would usually try and mimic the way she was laying down in the bed.

The next morning after we got back from breakfast we found robes in our room. Stella found wearing one more annoying than luxurious, but I still managed to get a picture of us wearing our robes. That day we were at sea so we just hung out on the ship. We sat out for some sun, Stella and Ava played in Papa's cabin and made a mess, and I took Stella to the Royal Tots Play Group, which was basically just some toys in a room and like two other kids...lame.

That night I dressed Stella up in the only semi-formal outfit I brought. She did get a million compliments though on both the skirt and shoes while we walked around the ship that night. When we got back to our cabin we found our first towel animal and I managed to convince Stella to give it a kiss. Then as we relaxed together, Stella started furiously demanding more juice, so I took her over to my parents' room to have them watch her while I went all the way to the Windjammer to get some juice. By the time I got back my parents had snuggled Stella into a deep sleep--it was pretty cute. Stella had not had a nap that day and it really WAS a busy day at sea!

Sidenote: I thought it was always so adorable that when I would knock on a cabin door, Stella would always follow me with a very cute light knock on the door as well.

Our second day promised a much anticipated trip to Royal Caribbean's private island Labadee, and that morning I could NOT get Stella to wake up. She was already so tired from her super fun cruise. I am not a real fan of the beach, but I was really excited to take Stella there for the first time. I was concerned that she would react to the sand on her toes like her mother did (as a baby, I HATED the beach) but she loved it. Every time a wave came up she would giggle like crazy, and she loved bouncing in the ocean with Nana and Papa. There was a lot of shell hunting to be had, and Tyler spent most of his time hunting for shells. Stella was so absolutely tuckered out by her beach fun that she popped her sand-encrusted thumb right in her mouth without her blankie. She almost fell asleep, but we headed back to the ship before she could, and when we got to the room she was out in a flash. The beach was very beautiful, and combined with my obsession with Stella's tiny toes in the sand the result was A LOT of pictures at the beach.

I like to travel with Starbursts because they are the perfect thing when my blood sugar drops. I had a huge bag with us, and I would let Stella in on the Starburst fun from time to time. She got really good at opening the wrappers all by herself. Proof that where there is a will, there is a way:

Our next port was Jamaica. Stella and I slept in this morning and we missed everyone else in the family getting off of the ship and hiking "The Falls" in port. But I always love when the ship is quiet and empty because everyone else has left. We just walked around and Stella insisted at this point and for the rest of the cruise that she HAD to push her cousin in her stroller with no help from Mom or Grandma of course. It was a little tedious at times, but it kept both girls happy.

Stella loved wearing my Marc Jacobs sunglasses during the cruise. I would put them on her and say "Lookin' good, Stella!" And you know what? She did look sassy!

Our last day was at sea, and that morning I took my camera into the Windjammer to get a picture of how cute Stella looked when I put the napkin around her neck. She insists on feeding herself most of the time now, so she had to stay protected from all of that falling yogurt!

On our last day we did absolutely nothing, which is my favorite kind of day. We did get to watch the beautiful sunset from our balcony though. Stella was more interested in seeing Cousin in the balcony next door, but she still loved it.

That night we all went to dinner together at the Windjammer.

On our last cruise, my mom got it in her head that she wanted to take jumping pictures. So she insisted that we do it again. [Editor's Note: This is precisely why I didn't go on the cruise this time.] The girls LOVED being on the windy deck and counting "1, 2!" and then jumping. Here are some of our hilarious results:

Then we took a few family snaps:

If you don't already know, I go crazy for magicians. I love magic shows, and love to pretend that I am not watching illusions, but real magic. That night for the farewell show they said they were having a magician, so Dad, Tyler and I went. The magician was more of a bad comedian than a good illusionist. It is pretty bad when I could tell you how he did all of his tricks. Then to add insult to injury they had the the whole crew sing the WORST farewell song. So many people were taking pictures of the show, so I had to get in on the action since I always have to do what other people do. This picture of Tyler makes me laugh!

Me: "Stella, did you have fun on your cruise?"
Stella: "Yes Mommy, I loved it. Can I have a cookie?"
Me: "Sure baby, it is bedtime after all. The perfect time for you to have a cookie."

And that is all, folks. All that is left are two long flights home to Utah and Brenty. A special thanks to Tyler who was an awesome travel companion and was always helpful and good for a laugh. He even held sleeping Stella while I had to run to the bathroom while on the plane.

Please feel free to contact Stella anytime for cruise tips. She is certainly a great source for the secrets of cruising. Like mother, like daughter.


Christy said...

Those pictures are so fun and awesome!! I LOVE Stella's skirt and shoes! She looks like she's having a blast the whole time! You are such a fun Mommy... don't tell my kids or they'll get jealous of Stella. :)

mistieleigh said...

wow! what an amazing trip. and how fun with the babies. Michelle, you seem to be in your element as a mom. Good for you! You just seem like a happy woman! Stella is a lucky gal.

angelicindy said...

so many good shots! And so many fun stories! And such great memories, I'm sure!

Sara said...

Well, I doubt I will ever go on a cruise in my life...but who needs to with great posts like this? I loved it!

Anna said...

This post just melted my heart. What a great thing to spend such good time with your family. And I love that you got such good "girl" time with Stella. What a cute little traveler.